- Philos. a theory in which things are conceived of in terms of their essence, or indispensable conceptual characteristics, rather than their concrete, experienced existence
- any theory that views certain ideas, behaviors, or traits as being natural to or inherent in either sex, in an ethnic group, etc.
- an instance of applying such a theory
The philosophical tenet that objects and classes of objects have essential and not merely accidental characteristics.
(countable and uncountable, plural essentialisms)